Ty Segall one: Ugly album covers

Don’t judge a book by its cover or else you’ll never listen to Ty Segall.

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Gush: Sina Grace’s take on Jenny Lewis

Sina Grace is on my radar, but I’ve definitely seen some of his work illustrating some companion doodles for More Adventurous (see the second photo). I just know the photo below is to accompany Rabbit Fur Coat‘s “Rise Up With Fists!!” I’m a little crushed to learn that only 1000 copies of Grace’s graphic novel based on Rabbit Fur Coat will be released exclusively at the three gigs. Fingers crossed they get leaked online!

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I speak for the CDs part two

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I have always liked CDs. If anything my love for CDs is due to being in close proximity to them, as well as being a product of the late eighties in the heyday of the CD. In late 2007, I begged by Dad to get me a record player for my first ever apartment. At this time, I already had a sizable collection of CDs and surprising number of records considering I didn’t have  a record player of my own. I remember the special thrill of watching my music play from a record – something you actually don’t often get to see with CDs and certainly not with MP3s.

I tuned into the CBC Radio program Spark this afternoon to catch the tail end of a segment on making music with robots and coloured pencils. The art installation is called Looks Like Music, allowing individuals to accessibly make music without notation. While not entirely far off from computer programs, Looks Like Music founder, Yuri Suzuki, claims that there is a certain importance of tactility and music that is not attained by making music from a computer.

So, in the second installment of the I speak for the CDs series, I report here that CDs offer a unique experience where you can read, handle, and smell liner notes – a completely lost art in downloading music and their artwork. Here are some examples of notable album artwork in my collection:

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‘Album of the Year’ by the Good Life – A calendar from 2004.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘Take Care, Take Care, Take Care’ by Explosions in the Sky – a house with inside bits included.

Help Okkveril River’s go-to art guy, Will Schaff

Yes, that’s right, Will Schaff, not Scheff. You may have seen some of Will Schaff’s art work on the cover of Okkervil River albums (frontman named Will Scheff) and on the cover of a Goodspeed! You Black Emperor album too.

Will Schaff has created an indigogo to support money he owes for the place he makes his art and catches up on sleep. I still haven’t quite come to terms with the idea of formalized begging, but the perks can be pretty fun. For just $80, you can hang out at Schaff’s haunts in Warren, Rhode Island and then grab a beer with him at his favourite local dive. Or for just a measly $9, you can get a Schaff original deck of cards, pretty sweet!

He’s looking for another $90,000 dollars, a bit ambitious, but the guy’s already made nearly $28,000 in just 15 days.

Here’s to Schaff:

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Gush: Tycho ‘Awake’

I got into Tycho three years ago (!!) after hearing a friend’s mix in a car ride, which featured “A Walk.” I was enamoured by the band’s soft, yet complex sound. I spent late study nights listening to the album Dive and sometimes even drifting off to sleep.

I suspect Awake will be just as good to me. NPR’s still got it up, so do feast your ears on it.

Also, sorry to break hearts here, but Tycho’s Toronto gig appears to be SOLD OUT.

Tycho is California native Scott Hansen, who moonlights as ISO50 for his photography and design work. Check out the beauty and thoughtfulness that his new album has taken shape into:

(I’m happy to report, this will probably be one of my few vinyl purchases of the year. Unless the CD version looks like this too!)

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Gush: Alternate Album Covers and Elliott Smith

It’s noon in Toronto and this is the highlight of my day, so far… Alternate album covers!! Compliments of Pitchfork:

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I would also like to declare that I’ve got a weird love for digipak packaging with a plastic stomp, and have been known to re-buy albums in this packaging. I am also the proud owner of these fine, rare Elliott Smith gems:

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Gush: All things Justin Vernon

Justin Vernon and I have been in a musical relationship since Fall 2007. A boy I was dating at the time casually mentioned he was keen to see a group called Bon Iver at the Horseshoe Tavern, which holds approximately 400 people. I remember checking out his Myspace page that night to check out this new band I’d never heard of and for some reason, this was my first impression of the group:

bon-iverAfter looking at that photo, I wasn’t too concerned about missing anything, so I passed on seeing the gig. Fast forward four or five months to March 2008, Bon Iver returned to Toronto opening for Black Mountain, this time Lee’s Palace and to a sold out crowd. While I don’t remember it quite well now, it’s really comforting to refer back to my former self. After reading that mess of thoughts, I really see the importance of reviews and recording my memories at memorable and not-so-memorable concerts.

Fast forward even further to 2013, and Vernon has now dipped his toes into music making with Bon Iver, Gayngs, Volcano Choir, Kanye West, Kathleen Edwards and the Shouting Matches. Which brought me to the thought today, does this man ever sleep?

I had the pleasure of seeing Gayngs play Coachella back in 2011. It was an unexpected surprise that now two years later, I have only come to really treasure. I found this video a few days ago and have been listening to it on repeat:

The super group is comprised of members of Bon Iver, Poliça, Megafaun and Glasser to name a few. They’re sorta the Broken Social Scene of the American Mid-West. The most memorable instance of that gig was when Har Mar Superstar came out and sang George Michael’s “One More Try” with the band. Thankfully, I had already been familiarized with the weird that is Har Mar Superstar back in 2008 opening for Sia, so I knew what was in store. He came out in a white cape that looked like a bed sheet he stole from the hotel he was staying at.

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In reading some comments about Gayngs, I’ve read a bunch of critics on how the band is one part serious and one part farce. There’s something mega cheesy about the ’80s and the synthetic sound that was treasured in that period, but somehow, Justin Vernon has managed to revive it tastefully. I say Vernon because he’s done the ’80s in more than one project.

So with my affair with the music of Justin Vernon revealed, I am over the moon excited for a new album by the Volcano Choir, titled Repave. The picture below is the album’s art work, a photograph by Corey Arnold.

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And this little teaser:

And a Toronto gig at the Phoenix September 8.